There are no two ways around it: Last night, Greg Popovich gave Keith Smart as thorough a spanking as I have ever witnessed one coach give another in an NBA game. Well, there was that multiple spanking that Nellie gave Mark Cuban and his Squeaky General. But you get the idea.
Pop scouted the Warriors perfectly. Knew all their plays. Pop game-planned the Warriors perfectly. And then Pop dictated the matchups to Smart perfectly. Pop must have known from the start that Smart would fall into every trap, because Smart is nothing if not predictable.
After watching this disaster, I’m a little perplexed as to how to run down the same litany of Keith Smart blunders, while keeping it fresh. How about I try putting it all in question form, for the home-gamers out there?
- Which team’s management has remade their roster into a fast-breaking, Nellie-ball juggernaut that is taking the league by storm?
- Who would you rather have on your bench, a healthy Lou Amundsen, who can’t throw a rock in the ocean, or three-point shooting Matt Bonner? Who would Greg Popovich, famous for his defense, rather have?
- Who would you rather have on your bench, Jeremy Lin or three-point shooting Gary Neal? Who would Greg Popovich, famous for his defense, rather have? Why?
- Which coach understands his roster, and has shaped his team into a point-differential creating juggernaut? Which coach is determined to pound his round team into a square hole?
- Which of the two teams that took the floor last night would be the fastest team end-to-end in the NBA if their coach would let them run?
- Which of the two teams played at a faster pace last night? Which team pushed the ball up the floor on literally every possession, looking for early offense? Which team was shooting threes early in the shot clock, even on the fastbreak? Which team was fastbreaking after made baskets? If you answered “the fastest team end-to-end in the NBA,” you must retake this part of the quiz.
- Which of the two teams takes the most threes per game this season? Or in the words of Bob Fitzgerald, which team has most “fallen in love with the outside shot?” Be very careful when answering this.
- If you were down 9 in a game against a team playing 6-7″ Dejuan Blair at center, and 6-6″ Ime Udoka at PF, would you counter with Dan Gadzuric?
- Of the two coaches on the floor last night, which coach learned how to coach at the NBA level as an assistant to Don Nelson? Hint: If you answered Keith Smart you got this question wrong. The operative word is “learned.”
- Why was Monta Ellis so frustrated by the Spurs triple-teaming last night, while last year, under Don Nelson, he averaged 38 points a game against the Spurs triple-teaming? Did it have anything to do with playing to his strengths, and RUNNING? Initiating his offense before the Spurs could set their defense?
- When playing against a superior half-court defense, at what point would you consider looking for early offense? Mid-third quarter?
- Why did Monta Ellis only play 33 minutes last night, and only 9 in the second half? Even given the fact that he made several bone-head blunders, is this how you treat your star? Your team?
- Did Keith Smart subconsciously need a scapegoat for last night’s loss?
Oops. Now, like Bob Fitzgerald, I’m starting to repeat myself. Time to hand it off to my color guys. But first, one last question:
In 40 years, did Don Nelson ever lose by 20 — against any team — with a complete roster on his home floor ?
Take it away, color guys.